in the spirit of upside-downness & inside outness & the beatitudes & how much i love them, i thought i’d share the closing liturgy that my friend christa & i wrote together for our current sunday evening conversations focused on the sermon on the mount. may Jesus’ words sink deeply into our hearts, our hands, our feet, our minds:
blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
God, we need you.
we’re at the end of our rope. we can’t do it.
without you, we’re empty, un-filled.
God, help us realize how much we need you.
blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.
sometimes we are afraid to feel, we don’t know what to feel
we’re too tired. we’re too afraid. what if it starts & never stops? what if they use it against me?
what if i can’t? what if i don’t know how?
God, help us learn to feel
blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth.
we want to be the one who isn’t always butting into the front of the line, who isn’t demanding & self-centered.
we want to move more slowly, so that maybe we can see better
we want to be the car that changes lanes letting others merge onto the road.
the one who asks but is willing to wait.
God help us learn what it means to be gentle in a harsh world.
blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.
we want to stand up for what is right,
take action for our friends
reach out to those that have been pushed aside and down
be a defense
God help us be bold and advocate for others
blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy.
we want caring hearts. compassionate hearts.
forgiving hearts. soft hearts.
hearts that can hold the breaking heart of another
hearts that offer grace,
hands that offer help
God help us be vessels of mercy and grace
blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God.
help our pride erode to humility
peel away our hardness
discard the moldy, unusable pieces
then unveil the deep inside, that which matters most
God remove what’s getting in the way
blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called sons of God.
teach us to forgive
to be healing balm in places of strife.
to lay down our guns & our need to win
to keep walking alongside the prisoners or war when we want to hide behind the barracks
God, help us be known as promoters of peace.
blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
help us remember that you know what it feels like to be misunderstood, mocked, rejected
for we feel like rejects
we have tried to be more like you and we only feel less. and lost.
teach us how to count this as gain when every part of us thinks we’re failing.
God, may their misunderstanding of us mean that we have a better understanding of you.
Jesus, turn us upside down and inside out. May these ways sink deeply into our hearts, our lives in ways we’d never dreamed.